PSA: Check your old horse's heart

Topic for older horses and older riders
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musical comedy
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PSA: Check your old horse's heart

Postby musical comedy » Wed Aug 10, 2016 7:52 pm

Last July a local vet checked my horse's heart during a routine visit and found a very minor heart murmur. I had my regular vet check it twice since then and it was mild, like a '1'. I was told no biggie. Well, my equine vet dentist came in July to do his power float. He checks the heart before sedating. He was :shock: at the murmur. I told him I knew about it, but it was minor. He said, no, this is just about as bad as it gets. He said he would not sedate with this problem and recommended I get a cardiologist to look at him.

Thankfully, I am only 2 miles from a major clinic that brings in specialists. I had a heart ultrasound done on him. He has a leaky value, which in of itself is not a big problem, but he also now has an enlarged heart, which make it more serious. The change in the noise came from tearing off a 'leaflet' or something like that, so the noise is not the issue.

The cardiologist said that unless I did a riding ECG she could not guarantee my safety to ride him. That is because if he gets an arrhythmia while working, then it could be dangerous. I did the riding ECG on one of the hot and humid days. It was hard because I had to work him at least as hard as a normal ride. Fortunately, his heart beat stayed normal and I have the green light to keep working for about a year at which time I need to do both the ultrasound and ECG again ($750).

I had never had my horse's heart checked since his PPE. Had it not been for the vet last year and especially the dentist, I would have been clueless about the severity of this issue. Therefore, I would recommend that all those with old horses (and even young ones) get the heart checked routinely. You just never know. Lots of racehorses get Afib when they are young, so it is not just old horses.

VBOpie
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Re: PSA: Check your old horse's heart

Postby VBOpie » Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:41 pm

Thanks for the PSA! Very valuable info.

Hayburner
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Re: PSA: Check your old horse's heart

Postby Hayburner » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:54 am

Thanks for the heads up. You were very lucky that your dentist was so thorough before he sedated.

Sunny Santa Cruz
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Re: PSA: Check your old horse's heart

Postby Sunny Santa Cruz » Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:50 pm

Routinely a horses heart should be listened annually. Murmurs can be normal with age, just as with humans. Leaflets of heart valves can rupture spontaneously and maybe this is why it suddenly changed.

Hayburner
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Re: PSA: Check your old horse's heart

Postby Hayburner » Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:51 pm

Thanks for the heads up ! I have an older (almost 30 ) year old and he gets his checked yearly. Sedating is always a worry with the old ones. I try to use a dentist that doesn't sedate, which are harder to come by.

westisbest
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Re: PSA: Check your old horse's heart

Postby westisbest » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:02 pm

I would think this is a routine part of your yearly vet check/teeth/shots. My vet always checks vitals on my now 24 yr old.

khall
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Re: PSA: Check your old horse's heart

Postby khall » Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:34 pm

I also like to do blood work usually annually on the older ones, just because. My vet already does a heart check before sedating each time because she had one fall over dead after sedating to do dental.

Tsavo
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Re: PSA: Check your old horse's heart

Postby Tsavo » Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:18 pm

Thanks for the PSA, MC!


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